Lessons learnt from Standford Swimming Camp – July 2017

Best bud had the opportunity to attend a swimming camp and I wanted to share the learning from that camp for my own benefit and everyone else’s.

The main difference between this camp and the running camp was the focus on technique. The entire focus for the week was to work on technique and nothing else. This clearly establishes the fact that swimming is a way more technical sport compared to running and or cycling. They had about two hours swimming in the morning, followed by half an hour of dryland training followed by two hours swimming again in the evening. This is typical of any swimmer who wants to do well in the sport. About four to five hours a day with some time spent in the water and some spent doing ground exercises. The amount of time spent on ground vs water will vary depending on what you are trying to accomplish.

Lessons Learnt

  1. Technique is everything
  2. When you feel tired or dead in the last few hundred metres, then technique is what the body will go to.
  3. Breathing on both sides was emphasized.
  4. Neutral position for the head. May be 70% out of water. Chin tuck is wrong.
  5. Breathing – Much lower and much faster. Nothing left to exhale when you inhale
  6. Core session felt more like circuit training. Higher intensity everything. Exercise we do in core are the same. Except they were done faster and in a circuit fashion.
  7. Arms – Elbow bend in recovery. Not too deep and not too shallow while pulling.
  8. Best swimmers are also best kickers.
  9. Lot of focus on feedback to the swimmers by using cameras and then showing them what they were doing wrong. Instead of cameras you can simply ask your coach. Shikhar felt that his coach was saying the same things to him for months.
  10. Backstroke – Same as freestyle neutral head position. Squeeze shoulder blades together. Arms hitting water as if a clock so 10 o clock and 2 o clock is head is 12 o clock. Rotation of body that starts from hips not shoulders. Minimal swim on front. Mainly on sides. Elbow bend beneath water. Not too shallow pull or too deep. Extremely still head. Never moving. Fast kick. Try not to get it out of the water. Kick from hips and minimal knees.
  11. Butterfly – Focus a lot on underwater which you can use in free and back. Hold your breath during dolphin kick. Don’t let bubbles out. Lungs are like balloons. They will fly with air in them but fall without. By not letting air out we make our body more buoyant and we will rise to the surface. Start underwater dolphin kick from the chest and thrust hips back and forth along with chest. Don’t start kick with knees. Kick not only when the legs go down but up too.
  12. Relay start – Both feet at around 3/4 of blocks. Take one step forward to edge of block and simultaneously begin to rotate both hands backwards. Finish rotation at same time as second step which is in line with first foot. This gives a lot of momentum. Then normal dive.


Don’t go by looks of people in swimming – Fat people will be able to beat you if they have better technique! I am actually finding out that fat people can beat other people in running long distance as well if they have better running technique and better knowledge of nutrition! Watch the movie on Missy Franklin – Touch the wall!

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